The School of Humanities at the University of Westminster ran a two-week writing festival to celebrate their students’ creative work.

Woman writing on a piece of paper

The festival was directed by Dr Kate M. Graham, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, and Dr Jennifer Fraser, Principal Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences. It enabled 12 of the school’s aspiring student writers, who applied to take part in the festival, to connect and network with a variety of published professionals. The students involved had different interests in prose fiction writing, life-writing, poetry or playwrighting. 

The students were mentored from March to May, with the mentors including poet Raymond Antrobus, playwright Zia Ahmed, novelist and Westminster alumna Anna Beecher, and journalist and broadcaster Kieran Yates. During the two-week festival the students shared their work at a series of readings. In addition to this, there were three panel discussions with people from across the arts world to help students think about the creative landscape across London and beyond, as well as creative writing workshops open to all Westminster students, run by the literary mentors.

The University of Westminster has a diverse student body and the festival brought its student writers into contact with people whose work interrogates and investigates what diversity might mean. The festival also offered a series of challenges, both to the classroom and the idea that’s solely where student learning takes place, as well as challenges to the histories and boundaries that are often tied up with, and in, higher education.

The festival is supported by the Quintin Hogg Trust and Student Partnership group at the University of Westminster’s Centre for Education and Teaching Innovation (CETI). 

Talking about the highlights of the festival, Dr Kate M. Graham said: “The main highlights have been the readings at which students have shared their work, these have been brilliant. It’s been wonderful to hear students share their fantastic work and it’s been clear at the readings how much they’ve got out of their relationships with their mentors. The mentors themselves have also been wonderful, so committed to the students - to giving the feedback on their work and to encouraging them to think about life as a writer.”

Two more rehearsed readings will be taking place on 8 June, with spaces available to book on Eventbrite.

Learn about English and Creative Writing courses offered at the University of Westminster.

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